Up for discussion: managing during the global recession
Students, staff and alumni from the School of Management were invited to a lively panel debate on Wednesday 6th May to discuss how companies can strategically manage their way through the global recession.
In line with the School’s ethos of combining practitioner experience with academic theory, the panel comprised senior business leaders along with School of Management academics.
Chaired by Professor Richard Elliott, Dean of the School of Management, the panellists explored how businesses have to respond to the immediate pressures of the crisis, while rethinking their long-term strategies.
Andrew Payne, Strategic Relations Development Director of Halcrow Group Ltd and Bath MBA alumnus, outlined how Halcrow has responded to the crisis. Whilst they have faced contraction in some business sectors, other activities were actually booming due to (at least temporarily) increased spending in infrastructure development – not necessarily in the UK. At the same time, they have implemented a crisis response programme around their three C’s “client care, cost control and cash collection.”
Margaret Heffernan, a serial entrepreneur who has run several businesses during earlier recessions, emphasised the crisis as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to make their mark. She argued that recessions can perversely be beneficial since they force organizations to stop and think about their businesses, about their processes, their product offerings, their customer base, and made changes accordingly.
Klaus Meyer, Professor of Strategy and International Business, characterised the crisis as a structural break after which the dynamics of the economy are likely to be substantially different. Businesses thus have to develop a short-term survival strategy while at the same time positioning their business for the economic recovery, at which time the best opportunities may arise from new business models and in new industry segments.
Michael Mayer, Professor of Strategy and Director of MBA Programmes, integrated the multiple perspectives, and emphasised the importance of ‘framing’ the debate – both within the corporation and within the public domain. Focusing on the opportunities for new business and the need for corporate change is important in order to motivate staff to take appropriate action.
The discussion emphasised that the current economic situation – as seen by entrepreneurs and the corporate boardroom – is both challenging but at the same time can create many opportunities. Overall, the panellists encouraged businesses and graduates to look for entrepreneurial opportunity rather than being overwhelmed by widespread fatalism.
Speaking about the event last week, Professor Richard Elliott said:
“I was delighted to welcome back both Andrew and Margaret to the School and to see so many of our students engaging in the discussion. At Bath, our combination of world-class research combined with a unique emphasis on real-world learning makes panel discussions such as these very powerful.”
The event was organized by the School of Management’s Research Network for International Business and Emerging Economies (RNIBEE). For further information and to find out about future seminars please contact Professor Klaus Meyer.
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General Notes For Editors:
The University of Bath School of Management has consistently achieved both top research and teaching ratings in the UK's Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) assessments. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the School was rated 5th in the UK for management research.
We are one of a select number of international business schools accredited by EQUIS, the European Foundation for Management Development's quality inspectorate and the Bath MBA has been accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) since 1976. The School is consistently ranked among the top UK business schools by The Times, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and The Guardian.
The centrality of research to teaching is an essential feature of all our programmes. The School offers a full range of programmes from undergraduate to postgraduate up to PhD level and post-experience programmes including the world-ranked Bath MBA. The School also provides tailored executive development programmes for middle and senior management.
The School of Management has a faculty of around 90 teaching and research staff, including visiting academics, with a support team of around 70 managerial and administrative staff. Research income averages £2 million per annum. There are approximately 2,100 students in total comprising some 200 MBA students, 460 Master’s students, 210 full- and part-time research students, and over 1100 undergraduates following BSc degrees. The School also runs joint undergraduate programmes with Departments in the Faculties of Engineering and Design, Science and Humanities and Social Sciences.